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Facebook launches online dating platform in Belgium

A smartphone displays the Facebook logo (BELGA PHOTO)
09:45 22/10/2020

Facebook launched its online dating service in Belgium on Thursday, with the intention of competing with the popular American app Tinder.

Facebook Dating was already available in around 20 countries in total, spread across North and South America as well as South-East Asia. Facebook is now making this service available in 32 European countries including Belgium.

The service will be integrated into the Facebook app, so every existing user can sign up. Facebook insists that it is an "autonomous" service within the app so that Facebook users "don't automatically receive" a Dating profile. They will have to create one themselves, the social media giant said in a statement.

Among the dating product's main features are the ability to share Stories on your profile; a Secret Crush feature that lets you select up to nine of your Facebook friends or Instagram followers who you’d like to date (without them knowing unless they also add you -- triggering a match notification); the ability to see people with similar interests if you add your Facebook Events and Groups to your Dating profile; and a video chat feature called Virtual Dates.

To avoid "unpleasant experiences", users will be able to report or block other users. The company, founded by American Mark Zuckerberg, insists that it "attaches great importance" to privacy and security, "because finding a loving partner is a very personal experience".

Facebook is regularly singled out for harmful practices on social media, including breach of privacy, disseminating misinformation, publishing of hate speech, and the abuse of its dominance in the sector.

In a new attempt to rein in powerful social media network providers, the European Parliament voted on Tuesday evening to approve stricter regulations on digital giants such as Facebook and Google.

Written by Nick Amies